Edited by Sabino Cassese
Chapter 4: International public procurement
The purchase of goods, services and works is essential to the operation of any public administration. At the same time, public procurement can create business opportunities for private contractors around the world. The magnitude, economic impact and complexity of the phenomenon are clear from recent statistics. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2011 general government procurement spending constituted 29 per cent of total general government expenditure, and accounted for on average 13 per cent of GDP in OECD Member countries. In 2013, donor States provided a total of USD 134.8 billion in net official development assistance and development aid rose by 6.1 per cent in real terms, reaching the highest level recorded, despite constant pressure on budgets in OECD countries since the economic crisis: aid funds are then spent by recipient States in procurement procedures. However, States are not the only public subjects that engage in procurement: in 2013, the organizations of the United Nations (UN) system spent over USD 16.1 billion for the procurement of goods and services. From 2000 to 2010, the value of the purchases made by the UN alone rose from over USD 687 million to over USD 3 billion (with a peak of almost USD 3.5 billion in 2009). This significant growth trend has emerged gradually since the founding of the organizations, with a slight drop after 2009 due to the economic crisis, and has gone hand in hand with the growth of their functions and structures. Over the last three decades, public procurement has undergone major institutional and regulatory changes.
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